Real Estate


Protecting Your Credit

One of the “big” three credit bureaus recently announced that a massive hack has exposed the personal information of up to 143 million people. To add perspective to that statement, that is about two-thirds of American credit card holders or close to half the population of the United States.  Part of […]


Investing on Your Side of the Fence

The grass tends to look greener on the other side of the fence. Maybe that’s why some people invest in things they don’t understand. It has been said that the grass is just as hard to mow on the other side of the fence so stay with what your most […]


Deductible Dilemma

The purpose of insurance is to shift the risk of loss to a company in exchange for a premium. Most policies have a deductible which reduces the amount of the claim that is paid by having the insured share in the first part of the loss. In the process of […]


Your Home’s Equity Could Be the Answer

A home equity line of credit, HELOC, is a mortgage loan made to homeowners to be used on an as-needed basis. A lender, such as a bank, will approve a borrower for a specified amount based on the equity in their home and all the necessary paperwork is signed to […]


Which Value Do You Want?

What your home is worth depends on why you ask the question. It could be one value based on a purchase or sale and an entirely different value for insurance purposes. Fair market value is the price a buyer and seller can agree upon assuming both are knowledgeable, willing and […]


Shorter Term – More Savings

Whether you’re refinancing your current home or buying a new one, something worth considering is a 15-year loan rather than a 30-year term. The payments will be a little higher but you’ll get a lower interest rate and you’ll build equity much faster. Let’s look at an example of a […]


Home Energy Aware

After the mortgage payment, the largest homeowner expense is for utilities and the major component is energy.  Contributing factors include air leaks, insulation, heating and cooling equipment, water heaters and lighting. Computers, monitors, TVs, cable and satellite boxes, DVRs and power adapters are spinning your electric meter even when they’re […]


Home Safe Home

Home is a place you should feel safe and secure. Sometimes, we take it for granted and unfortunately, we do need to remain vigilant about things we do that could compromise our safety. Here are a few tips to consider: Everyone loves an inviting home including burglars. Make sure it […]


Other People’s Money for College

Consider the goal of funding a child’s college education in the future. If “other people’s money” in the form of a scholarship is not a possibility, there still may be another way to use some “other people’s money.” A $25,000 investment into a mutual fund paying 5% would earn $1,250 […]


Assumptions are an Alternative

In the late 80’s, both FHA and VA began requiring buyers to qualify to assume their mortgages. The main reason there haven’t been many assumptions in the past 25 years is that interest rates have been steadily going down and if a person has to qualify, they might as well […]


Family & Friends Mortgage

Anytime a lender and borrower can agree on rates and terms, it can be a good match but IRS has specific rules that govern the transaction especially when the parties are family or friends. The loan must be done in a business-like manner with a written note specifying the loan […]


Must Be This Tall to Ride

Surely, you remember being a child at an amusement park when after having stood in line with your friends and family, waiting to get on a terrific ride, you discovered the sign that read, “you must be this tall to ride.” Not only was it disappointing, it was slightly embarrassing. […]


Good Info – Good Decisions

Having a clear understanding of mortgage financing can help make buying a home go much smoother. Read on for some financing tips


Reasons to Refinance

Regardless of the reason to refinance a home, the basic question to ask is: “Do you plan to live in the home long enough to recapture the cost of refinancing?” There are always expenses involved in refinancing which can be paid in cash or rolled into the new mortgage. From […]


Indecision May Cost More

“More has been lost due to indecision than was ever lost to making the wrong decision.” Interest rates have as much effect on housing costs as price and when they are both trending upward, it can be very expensive to wait. There can be some legitimate reasons for postponing a […]


An Alternative to Paying Tax Today

The cartoon character Wimpy would say that he’d gladly repay you Tuesday for a hamburger today. Some real estate investors say a similar thing to Uncle Sam to be able to hold on to their proceeds from the sale of an investment and agree to pay the tax later. The […]


Lower the Rate – Deduct the Interest

Credit card debt in America is back to levels prior to the recession. The average credit card APR is just under 16% according to CreditCards.com Weekly Credit Card Report. Homeowners have an advantage over renters when it comes to getting their arms around debt issues. Basic money management suggests that […]


Rentals are IDEAL

Rental homes are the IDEAL investment because they offer a higher rate of return than other investments without the volatility of the stock market. With certificates of deposit and bonds at less than 2%, people need an alternative investment that they understand and with a reasonable amount of control. In […]


Important Estate Documents

We know that death is inevitable.  Prepare the important real estate documents and other paperwork your heirs will need to help make settling your estate a little easier. An estate plan is a collection of  documents that ensures that your wishes are carried out when you die or are no […]

real estate documents

Before You Pay Cash for a Home

The National Association of REALTORS® reports in its 2016 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers that 12% of all buyers paid cash for their home. Before paying cash for a home, a buyer should decide if they might put a loan on the home in the near future. It may […]


Six Reason to Consider Rental Homes

Single-family homes offer an investor the ability to borrow large loan-to-value amounts at fixed interest rates for long terms on appreciating assets, tax advantages and reasonable control. Some of these characteristics are not available through other investments. 75-80% loan-to-value mortgages are available on most residential properties up to four units. […]


What Would You Give Up?

Yogi Berra said he’d give his right arm to be ambidextrous. While most first-time home buyers are not going to that extreme, it is interesting to see what sacrifices are being made according to the National Association of REALTORS® 2016 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers. 43% – cut spending […]


Mortgage Loans from Relatives

Occasionally, when dealing with close relatives who might also become heirs, signing a note and handling the paperwork properly may seem like a needless effort but it could mean the difference in being able to take a legitimate interest deduction. Home mortgage interest is deductible only if the loan is […]


Boomers Are Staying In-Place

There seems to have been an accepted progression for homeowners going from starter home, to gradually moving into one’s dream home, then, downsizing after becoming an empty nester and finally, into a retirement home. However, Marianne Cusato’s 2016 Aging-in-Place Report indicates that many older Americans don’t plan on following that […]


Attracting Buyers

There is a common body of knowledge among real estate professionals that indicates that the longer a home is on the market, the lower the price will be. Many sellers discount this belief in the beginning because they feel confident their home will sell quickly. Lowering the price is the […]


Rent or Buy – You Pay for the House You Occupy

The ironic thing about people who think they can’t afford to buy a home for themselves, end up buying the home for their landlord. There are several facts that support this notion. Mortgages, whether held by an owner-occupant or an investor, are usually amortized so that each payment reduces the […]


Facts or Myths

“It’s impossible to get low down payment loans.” – MYTH! FHA down payments are 3.5% and VA is 0%. In some areas, there may be some 0% down payment USDA loans available. FNMA and Freddie Mac have 3% down payment programs. “It takes perfect credit to get a loan.” – […]


“This is going to be the year”

Every year, it seems like the same things are on the list but this could be the year you really do invest in a rental home. Rents are climbing, values are solid and mortgage rates are still low for non-owner occupied properties. A $150,000 home with 20% down payments can […]


What a Difference 50 years Makes

In 1966, a gallon of gas was $0.32 and today, it is $2.49. A dozen eggs were $0.60 but they’ve only doubled to $1.33. A gallon of milk was $0.99 and today, it costs $3.98. You could send a letter for five cents and now, it costs forty-seven cents. The […]


Can 0.5% Really Equal 5%?

Since the election, rates have started going up and it will have a direct effect on the cost of housing. There is a rule of thumb that a ½% change in interest is approximately equal to 5% change in price. As the interest rates go up, it will cost you […]


Time May Be Running Out

During the Great Recession, some homeowners elected to rent their home rather than sell it for less than it was worth. IRS tax code allows for a temporary rental of a principal residence without losing the exclusion of capital gain based on some specific time limits. During the five year […]


It Isn’t Final Until It’s Funded

Mortgage approval isn’t final until it’s funded. Things can change prior to the loan being closed that can affect a pre-approval such as changes in the borrowers’ financial situation or possibly, factors beyond their control like interest rate changes. Good advice to buyers is to do nothing that can affect […]


It’s the Principal of the Thing

Most people think they’ll have a house payment and a car payment for the rest of their lives but it doesn’t have to be with a plan and a little discipline. The plan is to make additional principal contributions to a fixed rate mortgage to shorten the term and save […]


A Cost to Consider

Homeownership, part of the American Dream: a home of your own where you can feel safe, raise your family, share with your friends and enjoy life. The benefits are easily recognizable but maintenance is just as real and should be considered. Property taxes and insurance are two of the largest […]


Dial Down Risk for Retirement

There is certainly no shortage of retirement planning strategies available to individuals who actually take the time to consider them. What most financial experts do agree on is that the closer you are to retirement, the less time you have to recover from a loss. For that reason, many people […]


Down Payment: FOUND!

Saving the down payment may be unnecessarily keeping would-be buyers from getting into a home. They may be unaware that the funds might be available. The NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers reports that 81% of first-time buyers got all or part of their down payment from savings. Less […]


It’s not far, if you know the way

“It’s not far, if you know the way.” What this expression implies is that you could have a long way to go if you don’t know where you’re going or how to get there. Just like reading a map, there are some definite steps that will improve your success in […]


Sale of Home by Surviving Spouse

Special consideration is made by IRS for the sale of a jointly-owned principal residence after the death of a spouse. Surviving spouse may qualify to exclude up to $500,000 of gain instead of the $250,000 exclusion for single people if certain requirements are met. The sale needs to take place […]


Rental Real Estate is Preferred Choice

Real estate is the overwhelming preferred choice by Americans as identified in a recent survey. With the Dow Jones industrial average reaching record highs, it might be expected that the stock market would be the favored choice but that wasn’t the outcome. Analysis of the report suggests that the popularity […]